If This Isn't Nice, What Is?

If This Isn't Nice, What Is?

The Graduation Speeches and Other Words to Live by

Book - 2016
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"Best known as one of America's most astonishing and enduring contemporary novelists, Kurt Vonnegut was also a celebrated commencement address giver. Selected and introduced by fellow novelist and friend Dan Wakefield, this much-expanded edition now includes a total of fifteen of Kurt Vonnegut's speeches. In each of these talks Vonnegut takes pains to find the few things worth saying and a conversational voice to say them in that isn't heavy-handed or pretentious or glib, but funny and serious and joyful even if sometimes without seeming so. The new material includes- * Vonnegut's earliest known commencement address given in 1972 at the State University of New York at Albany; * A commencement address given at Southhampton College in June of 1981 in which Vonnegut describes the life of one Ignaz Semmelweiss, who saved countless lives by persuading his fellow physicians to wash their hands before touching a patient. * Writing in Playboy in January of 1984, Vonnegut describes what it is like to be the most censored writer of his time. * The speech Vonnegut gave in 1992 upon accepting the Humanist of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association, in which he sets out to say what a humanist is and can't quite decide. * A piece first published in Cornell Magazine in May of 1994 in which Vonnegut lists some critical things he was never told when he was in college, like not to bother with fraternities or getting drunk or getting a college degree. * In the last of the new pieces, "An Unsentimental Education" from 1995, Vonnegut reminisces about his early days as a student and new father, copyboy at the Chicago City News Bureau ("One time I found a body"), and novelist. A beautiful and nakedly transparent account of his beginnings in which he says, among many other things, "Culture is a gadget . . .And you can fix it the way you fix a broken oil burner. You can fix it continuously.""
Publisher: New York : Seven Stories Press, [2016]
Edition: (Much) expanded second edition
ISBN: 9781609806972
1609806972
Branch Call Number: 825 V94i1
Characteristics: xix, 187 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Wakefield, Dan

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From Library Staff

“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country,” The horror! Kurt Vonnegut was known for his charming and kind graduation speeches to American youth, and this collection gathers some of the best.


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okbookgirl
Nov 08, 2016

Wise and funny. Wish all candidates in the US presidential election would read this collection of Vonnegut's talks. The title comes from something his Uncle Alex said often when sitting around with friends and family. Vonnegut explains this, and he obviously used it a lot in his own life. Uncle Alex was wise too.

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